Voters to get right to reject candidatesIn an unprecedented electoral practice in the country, voters will be able to reject all the candidates beginning with the next elections if the bill proposed by the Election Commission is passed by Parliament.
In an unprecedented electoral practice in the country, voters will be able to reject all the candidates beginning with the next elections if the bill proposed by the Election Commission is passed by Parliament.
Once the bill becomes a law retaining the provision, a voter can choose the option of not supporting any of the candidates. The proposed bill states that the EC will make necessary arrangements for the practice.
The provision is in line with the Supreme Court order of January 5, 2014 that instructed the government to give the electorate the ‘right to reject’ candidates in the upcoming elections by formulating appropriate laws.
EC Spokesperson Surya Sharma said that the provision would make it essential for the political parties to find good candidates in the polls. “This will make it clear if voters are happy with the candidates picked by the parties,” said Sharma.
The provision of negative voting is in practice in a
number of countries, including India, Ukaine, Spain, Colombia and in Nevada, the United States.
The Indian Supreme
Court in September 2013 ordered the Election Commission there to allow voters to press a button to reject all of the candidates. The Indian court maintained that the provision of negative voting would ensure wider participation of people as even those dissatisfied with the candidates could turn up to cast their vote.
Surya Prasad Shrestha, chairperson of the Nepal Election Observation Committee, said the provision will uphold the people’s right to say no to all the candidates though such provisions have not made much difference in the election results elsewhere in the globe. He said this could be a change for some voters who were frustrated at having to choose one of the given contestants.